Tennessee executives rank our state’s business outlook higher than the national averages.

Makes you proud to be a manufacturer or distributor in our state, doesn’t it?

Find out what drives these ratings, View the Report.

2018 TN Manufacturing Report Outline


  • Tennessee Manufacturers work in all sectors of the economy and compete on regional, national and international stages
  • Participants represent manufacturers of all sizes

Expectations of the Manufacturing Sector

  • 66% of Tennessee Manufacturers expect the sector to expand
  • 62% of National respondents expect the sector to expand

Optimism about the Economy 

  • Tennessee Manufacturers are more optimistic in all levels of the economy when compared to National respondents

Top Priorities for 2018

  • Growing sales is the top priority for Tennessee manufacturers for 2018.
  • Diverging from the trend, developing new products and services was a priority in 50 percent of Tennessee manufacturers, but only 40 percent of manufacturers nationally.
  • Increasing costs of labor and technology are what Tennessee manufacturers expect most.
  • Interestingly, raw materials were expected to have higher increases in costs nationally, relative to their Tennessee counterparts.

Opportunities to Grow Sales

  • Tennessee manufacturers see their main opportunity to grow sales as being organic within the US.
  • The second most selected opportunity for growth was the development of new products and services

Risks for growth in Tennessee?

  • What are the greatest expected barriers and risks to your business growth in 2018?

R&D Growth Strategies

  • Manufacturers that invest in R&D expect significantly greater growth in 2018, and a significantly higher percentage of them believe their sectors will grow.

M&A Growth Strategies

  • As competition is high, Tennessee manufacturers are considering significantly more strategic growth through acquisition as compared to the national consensus.

Focus: Talent

  • A 12% year over year increase in hiring expectations for Tennessee manufacturers
  • Competition for talent will increase as more manufacturers grow.
  • How will your organization stand out to potential employees?
  • 50% of Tennessee manufacturers plan to hire.
  • As a result, Tennessee manufacturers plan to increase wages to meet their staffing needs

Focus: Technology

  • Increasing productivity and efficiency was noted as a key driver for technology strategy
  • More efficiently gaining access to relevant data was selected by more than half of Tennessee respondents
  • Cybersecurity, by far, is the top technology focus for manufacturers.
  • Tennesseans are exploring the Internet of Things and Predictive analytics more so than national manufacturers

Find out what drives these ratings, view the report.